Education trumps regulation in preventing gun violence

A Johnston, Iowa, family is head to head with Iowa lawmakers on yet another gun dispute, but this one is in our backyard.

Natalie and Meredith Gibson, 8 and 10, love shooting guns with their father, Nathan. They went out to a shooting range last week, and after Natalie had fired 20 rounds out of her .22 handgun, they were informed of a long forgotten Iowa law that persons under the age of 14 cannot shoot a handgun, even with parental supervision.

The girls were clearly distressed, as they are allowed to shoot their dad’s .308 AR-15 hunting rifle. That’s clearly too big for them, and much more “dangerous” than any said handgun.

Natalie was in tears when the rangers came to tell them they can’t shoot. “I thought I did something wrong,” she said, worried that after all the training and safety protocols their dad taught them they handled a gun wrong. Natalie, a young 8 years old can be seen in a YouTube video disarming a weapon; clearing the chamber, hitting the safety and discharging the clip. That alone shows that she can handle a firearm better than most people anymore, as guns are publicized as a weapon of death rather than a tool of self defense and security.

But, as always, there are two sides to this story. Kathleen Adams, a psychiatric nurse, said she would be less concerned if the issue were simply that of target practice or hunting. To her though, handguns are not about hunting; they are about personal safety and killing people. Teaching them, she said, implies that there may be a time to use it. That is inherently true; nobody knows when a dangerous person or persons may break into your home and try to injure you.

“We should teach them ways to solve conflicts that don’t involve guns,” she said, “and it’s really important for kids to have confidence that the adults in their world are going to keep them safe.”

And what about conflicts that do involve guns? Try talking reason into a distressed man with a gun set out to do harm. It’s not reasonable, and you should be able to defend your life with equal force.

Aaron Dorr, executive director of Iowa Gun Owners, offers no apologies. “You teach them guns are a tool just like anything else,” he said. “I’m not a revolutionary guy. I’m not trying to overthrow the government, but I’m trying to teach them that guns have a purpose and why they’re important.”

The comment that he’s not trying to overthrow the government is both bad and good. It’s good because it goes against what most of the media decides gun enthusiasts and Constitution lovers are: mercenaries that keep their guns in case of an overthrow. Which is absurd. Bad because it passively confirms that those people do exist.

Guns are for many uses. Hunting is a main one, which is why anyone in Iowa, as well and 8 year old, can shoot long guns. Pistols and handguns are for “killing” people, which is true in a sense, but without proper context it sounds like purely a murder weapon. What it is is a tool for self defense, used only in situations that call for that amount of force to be used. Teach these children at a young age the reason it is important to defend your person and property, and that guns should be used for that and only that, and we won’t have so many kids growing up seeing guns as a way to solve any problem. Teach the kid how to disarm a weapon, when to leave a gun alone and when the use of one is appropriate.

The media is making guns look bad. It’s that simple, as gun crime has gone down 39 percent since 1993. Non-fatal gun crimes have dropped 69 percent in this same time, but turn on CNN or MSNBC, and you see another shooting, an AR-15 being shown as if it’s a military grade weapon.

A Pew Research poll revealed that a majority of Americans believe that gun crime has gone up. They cite this as an “unknown reason”, but Eric Holder, Obama’s appointed district attorney, back in 1995 made a scary statement in a public speech. “I’ve also asked the school board to make a part of every day some kind of anti-gun, anti-violence message. Every day, every school, at every level, we just have to be repetitive about this and really brainwash people into thinking about guns in a vastly different way.” Politicians have been known to make these unnerving comments.

“When we got organized as a country, [and] wrote a fairly radical Constitution, with a radical Bill of Rights, giving radical amounts of freedom to Americans, it was assumed that Americans who had that freedom would use it responsibly. When personal freedom is being abused, you have to move to limit it.” Bill Clinton said that, calling our Founding Fathers radicals and saying that government has the right to determine if Americans are “abusing” their rights, and therefore limit rights. That goes against the very meaning of rights. The media and government are slowly trying to change the meaning of rights to be synonymous to privileges.

“I don’t care if you want to hunt. I don’t care if you think it’s your right. I say ‘Sorry.’ It’s 1999. We have had enough as a nation. You are not allowed to own a gun, and if you do own a gun I think you should go to prison.” Rosie O’Donnell said this, and there are many more from many people.

The basis of this is we have to teach the youth how to be safe with a gun and the uses of them. To ban a gun on basis of a “murder weapon” is purely absurd and should be changed. It’s all about fear and pushing away facts. Gun crime is going down, and the media are demonizing the guns. Let’s teach young people the uses of guns, how to be safe and how to learn for themselves.

Do you favor more or less regulation of gun ownership?

 

Miriam Queiroz, sophomore

Miriam Queiroz, sophomore

“I think there should be more gun regulation because we have a gun problem and would make me feel safer.”

 


 

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Kelli Dekutoski, senior

“In terms of regulation, less is better because present regulations are ineffective and interfere with Second Amendment rights. It’s better to have fewer regulations that are more effective.”


 

Senior Noah Miller

Senior Noah Miller

 

Everyone should have access to guns. However, there needs to be an increase of high quality gun safety education from both private and public institutions. Sadly, we live in a world where guns are necessary, but that doesn’t mean we need to be stupid about them.”

 

 

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